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Junior Meredith Perdue and the No. 9 Virginia women’s swimming and diving team will compete in its first home meet of the season this weekend when the Cavaliers welcome Virginia Tech and Princeton. There will be three sessions spread out over two days, beginning at 11 a.m. Friday. Perdue recently sat down with to talk about the upcoming meet, swimming with her younger sister at UVa and her research trip to the Bahamas.

Question: What will it be like to get back to racing this weekend?
It’s going to be really exciting, at least for the women, to have our first home meet and just being together as a whole team on the pool deck here. The away meet at Florida was awesome. There was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, so we’re looking forward to bringing that here and performing at home and hopefully having a really good couple days of swimming.

Question: The format is a little different in that it’s kind of like NCAA championships, but three days crammed into about 30 hours. Is that going to be exhausting for you?
It’s going to be really tiring. It will be a long three sessions but I think it will go by quickly because there are so many events. It’s not prelims and finals, so that will be good too.

Question: What’s your favorite event to swim?
My favorite event would probably be the 50 free but I don’t swim that often. Of what I swim on a normal basis I’d say my favorite is the 200 free, when I’m feeling good. It’s not too long or too short, and when I’m in shape it’s a really exciting race.

Question: How did you end up at UVa?
I’ve loved it ever since I was a little girl. Both my parents went here, so we were raised coming up here a lot for weekends and football games and to watch a couple swim meets. I had just fallen in love with the school from the start. I was actually born in Charlottesville, so I’ve always felt a connection. So when I talked to Mark (Bernardino) and it worked out for me to be on the team, that was just really exciting. It was like a dream come true. And when my sister Lauren joined me here it was kind of like completing the family circle – it’s just been great. There’s no other place I can imagine myself going to school.

Question: What was it like for your sister to come in last year and be your teammate again?
When she was being recruited here I wasn’t sure if she was going to make the decision to come. On her trip, when she did decide to come, I was thrilled. It’s always been my dream for us to be at the same college, but I wasn’t sure how realistic that was. We couldn’t be happier to be at the same school. We are living together this year, and next year actually, it will be just the two of us. It’s going to be really exciting – we’re not going to have to share a bathroom anymore – which will be good for both of us. It’s awesome being on the same team because we can encourage each other and get each other through hard times. We kind of have a special relationship that you don’t really find with other people.

Question: Any good stories from your childhood?
People always ask us if Lauren and I got in a fight who would win. And everyone’s reaction is Lauren because she’s stronger, but I say that I could win almost every single fight. The only fight she’s ever beat me in was when I was three and she was one, she hit me with a sippy cup and it split my forehead. That was our only physical fight, and she totally had me on that one.

Question: What is your major?
I am double-majoring in biology and religious studies. The religious studies part is kind of an afterthought, because I had taken some religion classes and I really enjoyed them. I also thought they would help boost my GPA, but I really like both the subjects. Career-wise I’m probably going to focus more on biology. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor like my dad and go to medical school. I’m definitely going to take a year off after college and take some more classes, then hopefully apply after I take the MCATs in a couple years. I’m also kind of thinking about research now after I did an abroad trip in the Bahamas this summer doing research for biology. That’s now also on my mind. I haven’t really decided yet, but I will definitely do something health-oriented because that is what I am really passionate about.

Question: What was your research trip like?
I did it with Hannah Davis and we took classes here at UVa and then went to the Bahamas in June with about 20 people and six professors. It was for two-and-a-half weeks and we did individual research projects on an organism in the Bahamas. Hannah and I were partners. We had to come up with a proposal, work through all the research, collect your data, then discover something that you didn’t realize at the start of the project and present your findings to the class and the professors. It was an amazing learning experience and it completely changed my perspective.

Question: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not swimming or studying?
I do some stationary making in my free time. I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I do I like to make cards for people with some special stuff that I’ve collected and I really enjoy that. I enjoy reading entertainment magazines – the stuff you don’t have to think about, you can just read. I also like doing things outside when it’s warm.

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